NTSB Identification: ATL01LA003.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 03, 2000 in TUSCALOOSA, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/19/2001
Aircraft: University of Alabama MINI-500, registration: N6165T
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
According to the airport control tower operator, the helicopter had completed three to four circuits in closed traffic to taxiway golf. While on the downwind leg, the controller believed that the helicopter had a sudden loss of engine power and began to descend. No communications were received by the tower and the helicopters rotor rpm decreased and appeared to stop before impact. According to the aircraft logbook, on September 28, 2000, the pilot had modified the helicopters horizontal stabilizer by cutting off part of the stabilizer, and removing the winglets. This modification was not approved as required by the experimental aircraft operating limitations. Additionally, the engine operations manual under section 9 stated in part that 'this engine, by its design, is subject to sudden stoppage'.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons, and the pilot's unapproved airframe modification that resulted in the loss of flight control during the emergency descent. Full narrative available
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